Decemviri(redirected from decemvirate)
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in ancient Rome any board often men chosen to carry out special state functions (law cases, religious questions, legal records, etc.).
Best known were the boards of decemviri of 451-450 B.C. The board of 451 B.C., composed of patricians, was appointed under pressure from the plebeians to have the laws committed to writing. In 450 B.C. a new board was chosen consisting of five patricians and five plebeians to complete the work. For the period in which the decemviri functioned, the consuls laid down their powers, and absolute authority resided in the decemviri. The work of the boards of decemviri of 451-450 B.C. yielded the laws of the Twelve Tables.